Just a few days to the end of the one-year ban on export of Nigerian beans to member countries of the European Union (EU), shocking revelations have emerged that the ban has been extended for three years.
Justifying the extension of the ban, the EU as reported in its official journal, the European Union (the OJ), blamed Nigeria for not doing enough to address the high level of pesticide residue in its dried beans. The dichlorvos pesticide residue, which the EU said was dangerous to human health, was reported to be between 0.03mg/kg and 4.6mg/k, far above the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of 0.01mg/kg, thereby rendering the beans unacceptable.
Various stakeholders who reacted to the extension of the ban told our reporter that it was unexpected and ill-timed especially now that oil was failing the country and emphasis was shifting to agriculture as source of more income.
Speaking on the development in Abuja, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, the Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), regretted that at the time Nigeria was working hard to get the one-year ban lifted, by the end of June this year, the EU shocked the country with a three-year extension.
The ban, he said, would impact negatively on the economy as agricultural produce exporters, especially those who trade in beans would generate less foreign exchange within the period.
Dr. Isegbe urged all stakeholders to work harder so as to get it right, adding that farmers should be sensitized to do the right thing right from the farm.
Another stakeholder, Prince P. O. Bakare, president of the Organic Agriculture Foundation of Nigeria, also decried the situation and called on the government and other stakeholders to focus more on the use of organic farm inputs to ensure safety of man and the environment.
In the same vein, an organic agro inputs supplier and expert in organic agriculture, Mr. Nnamdi Ukoko, said the extension of the ban was an eye opener to the government and other stakeholders who have ignored standard practices over the years.
“There are organic fertilizers, pesticides and other bio-inputs, which leave no harmful residue in the soil or in the crops, yet people keep using the dangerous chemicals,” the expert lamented.
He advised that government be more proactive by creating awareness among various stakeholders in the agricultural sector to embrace safe agro products so as to save the country further embarrassment.
A source at the Farm Inputs Support Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, who would not want to be named, told our reporter that the government was presently working hard to curtail the use of chemicals as it had included organic inputs in the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).